Today's market is tough. And your portfolio may be suffering. But if you invest in dividend stocks, the picture may begin to look brighter. These companies pay you annually -- just for owning their shares. So, in good times and in bad, you can rely on this passive income to lift the value of your holdings.

Where do you find the best dividend stocks? The list of Dividend Kings is a good place to start. These companies have increased their dividends for at least the past 50 years. This shows dividend growth is important to them. And that's great news for you as an investor.

Let's check out three stocks that could be your ticket to solid passive income in 2023.

1. AbbVie

AbbVie (ABBV -0.98%) launched back in 2013 as a spinoff of Abbott Laboratories (ABT 2.31%). Since that time, AbbVie has raised its dividend by more than 250%.

Today, Abbott pays investors $5.92 per share annually. The dividend yield is 3.82%. This is higher than the industry average of about 2%. So, investors can enjoy a generous dividend -- and likely watch it grow over time.

But you'll want to own AbbVie for more than its dividend. This pharmaceutical company is set to become the biggest by prescription drug market share by 2026, according to Evaluate. AbbVie sells treatments across a variety of areas, including immunology, neuroscience, and aesthetics.

The one dark spot for AbbVie right now is upcoming competition for its blockbuster immunology drug Humira. That's set to happen in the U.S. next year. But AbbVie expects its two newer immunology drugs, together, to eventually top Humira's peak sales. And they're on track to do so, the company said in the most recent earnings report.

AbbVie shares trade for about 20 times trailing-12-month earnings. That's down from more than 40 a year ago. Even considering the Humira situation, this looks like a bargain considering AbbVie's product portfolio and dividend strength.

2. Abbott

Abbott and AbbVie share a common history -- and that includes prioritizing dividends. Abbott, a diversified healthcare company, has reported 395 straight quarterly dividends since 1924. And it's increased the dividend for 50 years.

Abbott pays an annual dividend of $1.88 at a yield of 1.81%. The company's history of dividend growth and earnings track record are reason to be optimistic about Abbott's dividend over the long term.

And speaking of earnings, they should grow over time too. Abbott includes four units: diagnostics, medical devices, nutrition, and established pharmaceuticals. This diversification allows it to more easily weather any storm.

For instance, a temporary manufacturing shutdown at one of its baby formula facilities hurt the nutrition business this year. But gains in the three other businesses lifted revenue. And as a result, Abbott has increased its annual 2022 earnings-per-share guidance.

Today, Abbott shares trade for 23 times trailing-12-month earnings. That's compared to more than 45 prior to the pandemic -- when Abbott hadn't yet become a coronavirus testing giant. This looks like a good time to get in on Abbott for passive income and long-term earnings prospects.

3. Target

When you shop at Target, (TGT 0.93%) you may not think about the retailer actually putting money in your wallet. But if you invest in the shares, over time, it will. Target pays an annual dividend of $4.32 at a yield of 2.67%. So, if you hold 1,000 shares, Target will put $4,320 in your pocket for the year.

This sounds great. But some investors may not be excited about Target at the moment. The company disappointed the market when it said its comparable sales growth rate slowed from more than 3% to less than 1% in a matter of weeks just recently. The reason? Higher inflation is hurting shoppers' buying power.

But it's important to consider two things. First, as tough as things are right now, this economic situation is temporary. And strong companies like Target can make it through -- and flourish afterward.

Second, Target has made earnings progress that demonstrates its ability to keep customers coming back. For example, the company said traffic and basket size still are increasing. And Target gained market share across its product categories.

All of this means there's reason to be confident about Target over time. Trading at 18 times trailing-12-month earnings -- down from more than 25 last year -- the stock looks like a buy.